First things first, what is it anyway? Mechanically, I guess it's an action adventure. You fight opponents, attacking them by clicking on them. You also use special abilities, try to block attacks at the right moment, some special moves triggering when you successfully chain attacks, etc. Fighting looks kinda cool (especially once you unlock abilites) and is quite hectic.
Now, storywise is where it gets interesting. The setting is, you're playing a retired adventurer / scoundrel who decides to join the rebellion when he finds out about the atrocities the Emperor (who used to be a good guy) had commanded. During cut-scenes, you get to choose how to continue. Thing is, your choices will inevitably lead to you losing the game. The first playthroughs are about finding out which choices are wrong, and in the process finding four fundamental truths that will help you uncover the right way to go. You will need all four before you even get the choices required to get the Good Ending. Before that, after each loss you will get a bit of a reward, and then the game will rewind and restart, giving you more options, and also frequently reminding you of any truths you've uncovered that might be relevant to the situation.
I really like that concept! Also, the story is real cute and often funny. Same goes for the characters. I guess that's why I'm so angry at the game being stupid and breaking so much.
BTW, each playthrough is around an hour give or take, depends of course on how quick you're going, how much exploring you're doing, and how often you're diverting from the main path to collect items. I played through it seven times to collect all truths and find the Good Ending. When you consider that there are 24 (?) non-Good endings, I only got 6 of those ...
So. Things that irk me (please keep in mind that I played a few hours, not hundreds):
- On one occasion textures didn't load. I tried to continue the game, because quitting would've meant re-doing the entire level.
- I had to restart a level three times, repeatedly going through the same lengthy dialogue, because one fight kept bugging out. First time, after the fight my character only moved in slow-motion and I couldn't do anything about it. Second time an opponent fell part way through the floor. I could still see it, but not attack. So the encounter never ended.
- Every time you encounter enemies, you're locked in an arena area until the fighting ends. So imagine my surprise when I ran into a single opponent outside such an arena, without an actual encounter even triggering.
- Enemies' path finding frequently sucks, they get stuck around corners, they don't activate when they spawn too far from you.
- Enemies announce their attacks with an exclamation mark above them. You better click on them then to counter, or else they'll hit hard. Also, such a hit will stun you for a bit. Also also, multiple opponents might attack in such a way at the same time, and you can only counter one at a time. Also also also, you're a melee fighter, so you'll pretty much always be right in the middle of them.
- You have different swords (like, Ice Sword, and Fire Sword). Their abilities are activated though, they use up energy, and the energy by far doesn't last the entire fight. It took me a while to learn to just quickly light them up right before hitting an opponent and disabling them right after.
- Once you've collected all available upgrades for your Swords and Gauntlet, all pickups will be health ones. Which is utterly stupid considering your Swords use Energy, which you could find pickups for before you maxed out all your stuff. Now it only auto-regenerates at such a slow rate that you'd need to leave your game running for maybe half an hour to max it out. Or you use one of the gem slots in your gauntlet for a gem that restores 5% sword energy on enemy kill. So much for choosing your favorite setup among 7 available gems for your gauntlet.
- BTW, pickups frequently spawn in spots you can't get to. Health and Energy pickups will often be thrown directly at you, so you can't really choose to use one of your swords to regain health because there were a lot of energy pickups. Nope, you'll pick up the energy despite being full already.
- Oh, the combat. It's so weird. You struggle a lot early on, but when you unlock the various swords (I used the Ice Sword pretty much all the time) and some abilities, the fights get easier. The game throws more opponents at you at a time to offset your new-found tricks, but it's not enough. The game gets easier the more you play.
- Why did it take me just 7 playthroughs to get to the Good Ending? I deliberately made some poor choices I thought. Do I care enough to go through all the other options just to find all the bad endings?
- Last but not least, the controls. Ugh. Mouse+RMB to move, RMB to attack. I so wish I could've moved with WASD and used the mouse to point in the direction I wanted to attack. 7 hours into the game I still used LMB trying to move somewhere.
So. Yeah. That's what I think about Stories. Lots of wasted potential.